September 24th was supposed to be the end of the world. According to David Meade, who is obviously a seriously flawed Christian numerologist, a planet (Nibiru-which NASA says doesn’t exist) was going to collide with earth and usher in the end of the world, the Rapture, then all hell would break loose according to his twisted interpretation of scripture.
Meade is not the first doomsday preacher. He is but one in a parade that have preyed upon the naive throughout our history. Not all doomsday preachers are foolish enough to put a date to their speculations, but obviously it’s a strategy that works. Those like Meade who calculate mathematically the return of Jesus gain a tremendous following and interest as the date arises. Then when it passes, instead of calling bullshit many just buy the next tagline and frauds like him continue to succeed.
We must see the belief beyond our belief.
The recipe Meade and many modern evangelicals use fits on a continuum. Some extreme, some less extreme. Most won’t lay claim to knowing a particular day and time, but all use the same fear based ploy:
- First, claim to be a prophet of God with a special anointing that gives you special knowledge that nobody else has.
- Next, tap into the tribal (pre-rational) beliefs that still reside in many modern people. Leverage pain and suffering by continually diminishing the world and showing how it is on a downward course (tapping into regressive thinking).
- Use the daily news to draw parallels to Bible prophecy. Use math and science to make your point but don’t ask a real scientist.
- Exploit belief in Satan (adversary) as the cause of darkness, suffering, pain, confusion, tying Satan to either political, commercial, or religious figures.
- Once people see scripture as playing out in the daily news, their belief becomes mostly about self-preservation and evacuation (fear). This raises distrust in anyone who doesn’t share this special (tribal) knowledge. (addicted)
- Of course, you will need to join the effort to spread the word, which means buy their books, programs and support their propaganda.
- Money follows belief and now the loop takes you deeper and more extreme.
My issue is not so much with the false prophet, life is full of them. The issue is how tenaciously we cling to world going in the shitter. We need it to be bad, but why? People are not stupid, but immature. An adult can manipulate a child because children lack the necessary categories. When it comes to eschatology (end times) most people are children lacking understanding. The message of scripture is to grow up and avoid such nonsense. (Luke 8:14, 1 Corinthians 2:6, 14:20, Philippians 3:15, Hebrews 5:14, Galatians 3:1, 2 Timothy 2:23) But most don’t really know their bibles.
I’m often asked about my eschatological beliefs. So I have decided to do a series that I hope will deconstruct some of the common pre-rational belief patterns. Scripture does indeed talk about the end of this world, but it isn’t what modern Christianity has sold us. The New world emerges when the old framework gives way to the new (Revelations 21:5, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Mark 2:22).
It may surprise you to learn that Scripture does not encode some secret message, nor predict the future world wide destruction of everything we know. In fact the book of Revelations is just that: A revealing, not a cryptic message of Harry Potter type magical future events.
I’m sorry for those who are charging up their credit cards thinking that Jesus us coming soon, but it may surprise you to learn that we are not heading toward a world wide Armageddon as we have been taught, and the biblical trajectory of the world is actually toward restoration not destruction.
Suppose the USA and North Korea launch a nuclear war and destroy the earth as we know it. The only thing true about the prediction of scripture is that war begins at the heart level. Our pollution and destruction of our material world is not proof of armageddon prophecy, it’s proof that we have lost the battle in our soul, now bearing a global consequence. The inside and the outside are not distinct, but two aspects of one macrocosm. Separating them stems from the tribal belief that the world is evil and under the control of Satan. The attitude of many is: “Why should we care for it if its just going to all burn anyway?”
See how these deeply ingrained pre-rational ideas have horrible consequences? It’s time we all become brutally honest about our beliefs. This series will illuminate our prejudices, our biases, and our lack of understanding that we present as our faith. We need to cut out the tumors and grow up.
A profoundly optimistic future awaits us once we break free from our formative containers and lay hold of the truth that has been right before us. That is and always has been the promise of the gospel.